Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Dec 24 ...

Christmas in Valencia, Spain. Traditional American dinner tomorrow with friends here ... yummmmm

Danny & I wish all our family and friends a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous, fulfilling 2014.
 Our 2013 yearly letter ...
Christmas in Valencia, SP

Sunday, December 15, 2013

2014 UFO Listings

As we come down to the end of the year, the advent of the new year comes time for reflection and review. And with this comes new lists, lists of UFOs to be precise. So here goes ...

1. Merry Merry Snowmen* - have only 1 block partially done
2. Twin pink/green block
3. Twin black/red/white
4.   Roundtrip, Homeward Bound*
5. Rainbow Jane - have only 1 block done
6. Craftsy BOM - have 6 blocks done
7. Watermelon Picnic Tablecloth
8. Medallion QofV*
9. Bed Throw Christmas
10. Spicy Spiral topper*
11. Princess coloring book
12. Lap Christmas Toys
13. Twin Monkeys Jumping on the Bed – girl - needs to be finished quilting
14.  I Believe in Family wall hanger
15. Quilted photo of grand puppy*
16. Dash cover*
17. flying geese baby quilt*

* = those that have been added for this year. The rest of them are hanger-ons from 2013. With all the traveling I did not accomplish much in the way of finishes but also, I did manage to put more flimsies on the list.

1.   Father Frost
2.   Cleopatra’s Cat - have the second side to finish, the Christmas side. The blue side is done
3.   Golden Crackers
4.   StitchPlay

Of course, there are always those projects that one wants, or feels that they need to start, knowing that there is a whole pile of UFOs waiting in the wings ... 

baseball wall hangers x2
grandkids quilts - queen x3
donation quilts ... and so it goes.

The photos will have to wait until I get back to the US and the storage unit in order to make the lists anywhere near manageable....

Happy Holidays everyone. May the memories made last a lifetime and the smiles be ever there. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

I don't often ...

I don’t often use this blog for agendas but I couldn’t help thinking when I saw this: 
Would there be less smokers in the world today if more countries had this type of ad on their cigarette packs? I can’t help wondering how the government here in Ecuador got Marlboro to put this photo and others on their cigarette packs. Can you translate it?

And that is all I am saying.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Learning to appliqué

It came to me as I was sewing while screwing up my mouth, little pieces of fabric onto larger pieces of fabric, that I should have taken some photos as I progressed. Well, I didn't until this one
and as you can see I had already sewn about half of the pieces on. The white one above the others is waiting to be sewn.
Take tiny stitches I kept telling myself and don't pull your thread so tight that it puckers the fabric. So much to keep in mind, so much too learn ... Still it is oddly relaxing to sit and sew these pieces. Wonder how I will feel after all 9 blocks are completed?
As I neared the completion of the first block I frantically looked for my packet of embellishments. I can only surmise that I left it in the US. So, for now, I am finished with Block #1 and my first attempt at hand appliqué. The snowman is a little wonky but hey, it adds character.

The study in fibers have been completed for segment 1. Of course I can't do anything with them until I get back to the US, but the stitching is done.

Four little ...
The Bamboo Stitch takes a lot of work to get it situated correctly and even then it sometimes look a little "liberated", something that is probably not what is hoped for in the overall design.

Five little ...
The Diagonal Cashmere is a very useful stitch, one that I have used many times in various projects.

Six little swatches.
Triple Rice is what this is called...hmmmm what would I use it for? Suggested uses include paths, window panes and other architectural designs.

And therein lies the first segment of this project. Of course, I only brought the first segment so now it becomes a UFO.

As I had another stitch by Carol and Michael, taken from Needlepoint Now, I decided to add it to this segment ... the multipurposed "X" stitch and it's many forms. I started with a contracting color to show how it can be used as an "outliner", a compact heavier stitch.

I have used the Smyrna Cross many times for this very use, but never the simple "X" stitch...an interesting concept.

I can't wait to get home in order to start on the second segment. But then I also want to complete the work on Cleopatra's Miss Chrissy and get her off to the finishers. And then there is the beard left to do on Father Frost and then get him off to the finishers. Oh my ......

While in an archeological museum in Cuenca I saw a photo of an indigenous King wearing a fabulous coat. Couldn't NOT take a photo. The quilting opportunities swam frantically around my head as I looked at it even though intellectually I knew that it was all painted onto the cloth.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

One little, two little, three little ...

It sure didn't take me long to finish the Christmas Cracker, even with the bead application. The stitching went very quickly and I enjoyed doing it.

 Of course, with it going so fast, I am quickly depleting my stash that was brought with me.

The next project that I brought with me is one called Building Blocks for Needlepoint, a StitchPlay Design by Michael Boren and Carol Lake. This is a segmented project with each segment coming every two months for a year, starting this last summer. With this project we will be exploring new fibers and how they interplay with canvas as well as becoming familiar with the vast possibilities for application. Of course I only brought one segment with me, although I did bring an addendum that was in the Needlepoint Now magazine.

Our first segment: Here we are exploring Duchess Silk, a Gloriana, hand-dyed fiber and what a glorious fiber this is. It is soft, silky, a bit of sheen, loosely twisted, and slightly tonal. As I had chosen to received the spring color way, I received Leaf Green # TI2N382 and Sweetheart aping # T64N8292, two very pretty colors.  You can see the complete range here [http://www.glorianathreads.com/Duchess.html]. Of course, these fibers are relatively new and they don't have photos up yet of all the luscious colors but I do have a photo of sorts:  Yummy colours!

One of the problems with bringing only the required supplies is that for the next project, you don't have the correct supplies, as noted on the size of my stretcher bars:

One little ... 

The first stitch is Horizontal Parisian:

Two little ... 
      The second stitch is Milanese:

Three little swatches .... 

The third stitch is Foliage:

I am enjoying this exercise in learning. The goal is to have a notebook of stitches and fibers from which to draw on when doing your own stitch guide for canvases. The idea is that you would put the "how to" diagram as well as a description of the stitch and it's possible uses along side the stitched swatch. Like this:

So the question that comes to mind is, "Do you file according to fiber or stitch?" Another group that has a similar, but not study of fibers, just stitches, suggests putting them into plastic sheets like this:

I have some ideas as to how to do mine, but can not accomplish any of them until I return home to the US and my supplies. So I guess, once I finish the 6 blocks, they too will be put away until later. Aaaaah another UFO.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sitting in Cuenca, sans sewing machine ...

I have been sitting here in our new apartment, here in Cuenca, Ecuador with much time on my hands.
Our new home for the next couple of months:

I am between classes and have yet to start my next volunteer position. New class starts next Tuesday and still do not know what I will be taking. Am currently negotiating with the university over transfer credits. They want me to retake classes and I am rebelling. Oh, but have I ever been itching to get my hands on some sewing. I do regret not bringing my tonka toy sewing machine to at least do some piecing but we decided to travel with only 1 suitcase between the two of us and I was a much a part of the decision as Danny was. I really thought that I could manage to keep busy enough studying, volunteering and touristing to not miss it. WRONG!

As reported earlier I did bring two blocks for my Merry Merry Snowmen appliquéd quilt and I will pull them out and get started tonight. But in the meantime, I also brought a couple of small needlepoint projects. When I unpacked them however, I found that one of them was one that I had already done:
 so then I got out the other. I knew that I had only done one so this one would be available for stitching. Loaded it up and got started ... wait I need a photo so even though I had started to stitch, here it is. 
 These are from the Golden Christmas Crackers by Melissa Shirley that I got. I can't wait to get them finished and sent off to the finisher - they are gorgeous and my Christmas dishes have gold trim to them. 
 The crackers will make a lovely addition to the Christmas table. Will have to make another set for DS and family and then adapt it to silver for the other DS and family.

So what do I do when these three projects are all done? Oh my, oh my, hopefully my next class will more than keep me busy along with touristing.

Our arrival to Ecuador found us first in Quito. What a lovely old heritage city, with many wonderful sites and colors.
 "I am part of Quito, take my photo!" says the fella who came up to us and spoke English.

From Quito we traveled to Manta, on the coast
where we bought some Panama Hats in Montichristi:
 No they are not made in Panama!
and visited with friends from Colombia, the fish market.
 Frank, from Colombia, our guia for the day
 from the boat to the middleman, who sells the whole fish ... 
to the vendor who sells it by the pound ... 
 Albacore tuna
and yes, that is $3.50/lb, freshly caught ... 
Manta is where the canned tuna comes from, we even saw a Sunkist truck. There is also an active, flourishing boat building economy that accompanies the fishing industry.

 the tools were the same as some of the very old ones, not electric by any means, but rather the ones that were manhandled and swung by the best.

Then on to Cuenca. From 9000+ft to sealevel to 8000+ ft, man my head doesn't know which way to turn. Still suffering from mild headaches and sore legs. Cuenca is an UNESCO heritage city and has a wonderful old town as well as a new one. 
 The "new" cathedral in which you can certainly see the Spanish/Moorish influence. The inside is phenominal. 
 and yes, the yellow is gold leaf
 notice how high the ceiling is as compared to the tourists on the floor.
 the front arches, there are 3 of them, are made of marble in varying shades. It sits in a valley with mountains surrounding it. Although we are now in the "dry" season, we still get rain as can be seen in the photo's background. 
 The temperatures are wonderful - love them: 50's at night and 70's during the day. Even at that, the sun's rays are very strong and I have to be very careful.
Everywhere one turns there is colour and inspiration. The children are adorable and the people very friendly, especially if you buy something. :)

 Love the sound of the music from this native flute, even if they are playing modern songs. Of course we had to buy a CD.
 I wish I could sit like a bump on a log and get photos of the many faces that are under the hats. They are priceless and I didn't bring my big camera!
 The inspiration abounds at every turn. Wouldn't these make fabulous quilts? And some of the photos would translate into them as well.
Now here is an unique idea: take an old tablecloth and sew cut-out pieces of metal to make a wall hanging. Somebody has a vivid imagination.

And so we head out ... tomorrow Danny heads to the University de Cuenca for a teaching gig and I await a call from a midwife ... the weekend we will head out to surrounding towns to visit and get more inspiration. In the meantime, I continue to work on my needlework ...